The focus is on news broadcasting and independent journalism, when NIRAS, in cooperation with Deutsche Welle Academy and BBC Media Action, are preparing to establish a new, modern and digital media house for the Ukrainian public service television station UA:PBC.
In recent years, Ukraine has been severely affected by economic challenges, armed conflict in the eastern part of the country and weakened confidence among the Ukrainian population in both the governmental and political systems. False information is increasingly being produced by the predominately Russian oligarch-owned media, which controls up to 97% of news communications in Ukraine.
In order to protect the framework for independent media in Ukraine, NIRAS will, in cooperation with Deutsche Welle Academy and BBC Media Action, establish a new media house, with modern equipment, for the public service television station.
The new media house will form the framework for high-quality independent journalism. When the project concludes three years from now, Ukraine will have a new multimedia newsroom and a training centre for journalists. NIRAS will be responsible for creating the news media house and identifying and procuring the appropriate equipment – as well as for helping Ukraine's new independent public service channel seek additional funding in the form of donations.
A step closer to a more democratic press
"In Ukraine, only approximately three per cent of the population view broadcasts by the national television station. This figure is very low compared to, for example, DR’s (Danish Broadcasting Company) viewing figures in Denmark. Instead, it is the private television stations that are popular, as they have the resources needed to produce television with great entertainment value and therefore attract more viewers", says Claus Jørgensen, International Marketing Director at NIRAS.
Many of the TV programmes in Ukraine are broadcast directly from Russia, which, from a Danish and European perspective, should be avoided on the basis of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine back in 2014. To support independent journalism, the EU has allocated funds for the establishment of a new and modern media company in Ukraine, where a new training centre will focus on educating talented journalists. High-quality equipment will also play a role in the new media company, as it will form the framework for a modern public service television station.
Capacity-building in Eastern Europe
NIRAS and the BBC have been working to protect independent media in Eastern Europe since 2013. The project was funded by Danida and the premise was to support independent journalism, including by teaching and training school children to engage critically with print and social media, and use them constructively.
As part of the 4-year capacity-building project which ran from 2013-2017, a desire emerged for NIRAS to develop a master plan for how to create a modern, digital media newsroom comparable to DR, where news are processed and broadcast. The master plan was supported by DR and TV2 through the provision of professional expertise. It is precisely this master plan which has now been allocated funds by the EU to enable it to become reality.
The project commenced in September this year and has an operating grant of EUR 6.25 million – EUR 3 million of which has been allocated to NIRAS' part of the project.